Not on view

This wooden panel is strikingly well preserved. Its carved decoration fits well into the artistic productions of the very first centuries of the Islamic era, while a number of elements are evocative of Sasanian-period visual language. These include the draped bands enclosing the central half-medallion, which recall both the flying scarf of geese depicted on stucco decoration and textiles, as well as the headdress of Sasanian emperors reproduced on coinage. Polylobate arches, double colonnette, ribbed columns, and crested crenellations are similarly evocative of Late Antique and Sasanian architecture and appear in early Islamic buildings and their depiction.

This panel came to the museum through an unusual source, the British art and antiquity dealer Sydney Burney (1878–1951), known mostly for his trade in African and modern art and for having served as the President of the British Antique Dealers’ Association. His only ventures into the market for Islamic art were limited to an assemblage of carved wood, which he sold between the Met, the British Museum, and the Louvre. It is yet unknown how the London-based dealer obtained these artifacts, of which the large part are said to have been found in Tikrit in Iraq. From this group, fragments 33.41.13, 33.41.14 and 33.41.5 are very similar in style to this panel, and may have originally belonged to one object.

Panel, Wood; carved

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